Author Archive

Behind the Scenes of Discover Cornwall

Thursday, January 29th, 2015
Pin It

It’s no secret that here at Sykes Cottages, we’re big fans of Cornwall – it’s one of the prettiest places in the UK! Yet Cornwall is not just a pretty face; it’s now considered to be one of the top foodie hot-spots in Britain, famed for its tasty local produce and talented chefs. To celebrate the culinary delights of Cornwall, we’ve launched our Discover Cornwall campaign, with mouth-watering guides and videos showcasing some of the best places to eat in Cornwall.


Tim’s cameo in our Discover Cornwall video

Light Colour Sound is the company behind these fantastic videos (which will make you really, really hungry). They also produced our incredible Hidden Cornwall video last year. We caught up with Cornishman, Tim Boydell, the managing director of Light Colour Sound, to get a sneak peek behind the scenes of our Discover Cornwall videos.

Breakfast diner Cornwall

Breakfast at Mimi’s, St Austell

Hi Tim! Why did you choose the places that appear in the videos?

The main inspiration here was local food by local people – finding those amazing characters for one, but also the quirky and truly Cornish locations. We also wanted to pick a good variation of places so that each film would have smaller, local businesses alongside five-star restaurants. Healthy foods were also important but, hey, we’re all suckers for a fry-up!

Were there any places that you wanted to include that didn’t make the final cut?

There were quite a lot actually! We wanted to film mid-summer so places were busy and in good light. Some places just couldn’t handle a film crew around during these times – a lot of the smaller places that we loved wouldn’t have been able to fit the camera in! Hence, we filmed a few places as blank canvases so the viewer could make up their own ideas. We missed the famous Hedgehog Ice Creams at Chapel Porth as well, which was a shame.

What places were your personal favourites during filming? Did you get to try any of the food?!

Snails Pace Cafe, Cornwall

Filming at the Snail’s Pace Cafe

Oh yes we did! I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t an opportunity for myself and the crew to be a little indulgent! My personal favourite was meeting the guys at Snail’s Pace Cafe. For health and sustainability reasons, they stand out a long way. Another highlight was Seaton Beach Café; they have done such an incredible job in only a few months to get a really cool, quirky place back up and running. The storms almost took the beach away, let alone the restaurant sat on it! There were a few other highlights; Kynance Cove Cafe is breath-taking – a must see! The Cabin Beach Cafe at Perranuthnoe – amazing people and amazing food. Rick Stein’s Restaurant (not take away!)  Honestly, I didn’t know what perfect fish and chips were until we went here. Finally, the best pasty in Cornwall at Sarah’s Pasty Shop in Looe. We can’t forget Waffelicious though too, he’s a really cool guy and the food is tasty!

Sennon, Cornwall

Filming in Sennon, Cornwall

We noticed Arfa, the star of Hidden Cornwall, popping up a few times! Were many of the places you visited dog friendly?

Most places in Cornwall are dog friendly. We came back after the first shoot and Arfa was on us immediately. He knew we had been out eating food and he wasn’t happy. He had to come next time with his pal, Storm, too.

Why do you think Cornwall is so popular with foodies?

Well I have to say, living here I maybe didn’t realise how good we have it. Cornwall really does have all ends of the scale. Great food is one thing but there are also great locations on top of that. There are some of the best places to eat in the country here, I’m absolutely sure of it.

Pigs in Cornwall

Filming the pigs!

Are you much of a cook yourself?

I am indeed. I like to wing it and throw a bit of this, bit of that in. I’ve had some major mistakes but also the odd surprise. For me the best dish is local, own caught bass; a bit of chilli, a few herbs, on the BBQ. You really, really cannot beat it.

How long did Discover Cornwall take to film?

It took two months on and off to film. This was a really hard shoot in all honesty, as there were so many variables – getting the people, the places, the weather. We didn’t want to be driving back and forth so it was really important for us to do a whole section at once. Scheduling around working businesses was a long way from easy but in some cases it made for more locations as there were at least five places we just found on the way!

What can you tell us about the technology and music used in the film?

Farm, Cornwall

Filming on the farm

This shoot was always going to be more about the food and the people. We wanted to show a few places off using our drone, Cinehawk. We also wanted to introduce the areas with aerial footage as the contrast from south to north is very different. We filmed using two cameras: a Sony FS700 for the main camera, utilising the amazing super slow motion and then a backup camera, a Panasonic GH4. Both cameras were shooting in 4k which is all the rage these days. With that we can re-frame shots and generally get a better picture for our online HD acquisition. The music was made in-house by our talented sound design guy and music producer, Sam from Boyde Music. We wanted to make a bespoke track with smooth transitions and good vibes. I always ask Sam for something unique and he comes good every time.

 One last, very important foodie question! Jam or cream first on a scone? 

Well, interestingly on this food tour I tried – wait for it – a Cornish Cream Tea with cream for the first time! It’s true, I’ve never had one!  I thought I didn’t like cream but I was persuaded into it at the Riverside Cafe in Helford as they looked so good, and what do you know… I love ‘em! Jam first I’m afraid!

You can watch the main video above but you’ll also find four other videos focusing on North Cornwall, South Cornwall, West Cornwall and Bodmin Moor & Tamar Valley, on our Discover Cornwall page. Don’t forget to let us know what you think via Facebook or Twitter! We’d love to hear your thoughts on all the places featured and if there’s any hidden gems that you think we may have missed!

Pin It
Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Walk the Scenery that Inspired Robert Burns

Sunday, January 25th, 2015
Pin It

Did you know that tonight is Burns Night? Tonight, Scots and non-Scots all around the world will be holding their own celebrations in honour of Robert Burns, who is widely regarded as Scotland’s National Poet. Here at Sykes, we thought we’d join in the celebrations in our own way- by having a look at some of places in Scotland that inspired his beautiful poetry and exploring the walks on which we can visit them!

The River Ayr Way

The longest of all our routes, The River Ayr Way spans a considerable 44 miles and is Scotland’s first source to sea path network. This beautiful part of the country is said to have inspired Burns in many ways, not least because it was the setting for his poem ‘Highland Mary’, an ode to Mary Campbell who the poet had a brief fling with before her untimely death in 1786. There’s the sheer scenic beauty of the place too; think sleepy woodlands, castle-strewn heath and wildlife rich stretches of coast. If you plan to tackle the full route, give yourself two days so as to enjoy the scenery as Burns would have two-hundred years ago.

Burns’ Trail

Burns’ Trail is a short, circular route around the leafy village of Alloway, once home to Robert Burns himself. In Alloway, you can find the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, which encompasses the building in which he was born, known as ‘Burns Cottage’, new museum buildings housing original manuscripts of his poetry, and the Burns Monument, which is a sixteenth century memorial created by Thomas Hamilton. Other places of interest in Alloway include Alloway Auld Kirk and the Brig O’Doon, which both feature in Burns’ poem, ‘Tam O’Shanter’. Walking Burns’ Trail should take around 2 hours although walkers should allow extra time to investigate the attractions on route.

The Birks of Aberfeldy

This circular walk in Perthshire was the inspiration for one of Burns’ most popular poems of the same name, ‘The Birks o’Aberfeldie’, which he wrote in August 1787; he is said to have found his inspiration for the poem while visiting Aberfeldy on a tour of Scotland with his friend, William Nicol. The Birks were originally named the Dens of Moness but were actually re-named after the success of Burns’ poem! The walk itself is fairly short – about 2 miles long and will take around 1-2 hours to complete. The path is well-defined and takes walkers through a beautiful array of mature trees including birches and elm trees, before offering spectacular views of the waterfalls.

If you’re planning on walking one of these fantastic Scottish walking routes then head to our holiday cottages in Scotland page, where you’ll find a wide selection of cosy cottages perfect for walking holidays!

Pin It
Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Sykes’ Spotlight: Holmfirth, Yorkshire

Sunday, January 18th, 2015
Pin It

The picturesque market town of Holmfirth lies at the heart of the breathtaking Holme Valley on the edge of the Peak District National Park. If you’re searching for a holiday that combines charming pubs, cafes and shops with stunning scenery and walking opportunities, then Holmfirth is a fantastic choice. There are plenty of fascinating shops to explore, lovely places to eat and drink, including TV chef Timothy Bilton’s  ‘The Spiced Pear’, and beautiful nearby walks including Holme Valley Circular Walk, the Riverside Way, Digley Reservoir and Holme Moss View Point.

The town is often better known as the filming location for TV classic, ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ and visitors to Holmfirth can still experience Last of the Summer Wine tours on a vintage tour bus, or visit the Summer Wine exhibition which is located inside ‘Compo’s House’. If Holmfirth sounds like the perfect holiday destination for you, make sure you take a look at some of these lovely self-catering cottages in the area!

Underbank Hall Cottage (ref. 3839)

Holiday cottage in Holmfirth

Underbank Hall Cottage, Ref. 3839

If you’re looking for a romantic retreat near Holmfirth, then look no further than this pretty stone-built cottage in Stocksbridge. With its king-size bedroom and en-suite, Underbank Hall Cottage offers the perfect place for a tranquil romantic getaway with your loved one, and as it’s pet friendly, you will be able to enjoy the surrounding scenery with your four-legged friend in tow too.

3 Hanging Royd (ref. 27400)

Holiday cottage in Holmfirth

3 Hanging Royd, Ref. 27400

3 Hanging Royd is a charming, Grade II listed end-terrace in the traditional village of Slaithwaite, just 6 miles from Holmfirth. Dating back to 1840, this cosy pet-friendly cottage offers a wealth of original features including beams, stonework and mullioned windows, along with all the modern conveniences that you could need from a holiday cottage. 3 Hanging Royd sleeps 6 guests in 3 bedrooms.

Leapings Cottage (ref. 913420)

Holiday cottage in Holmfirth

Leapings Cottage, Ref. 913420

This characterful detached cottage is set on a leafy lane in the lovely village of Thurlstone. With fantastic views of the lane and river, Leapings Cottage is a delightful rural retreat. It even has its own wild ‘secret garden’ for guests to enjoy. The cottage sleeps 6 guests in 3 bedrooms and is also pet friendly! Thurlstone itself offers a few charming village shops and a good pub, as well as having direct access to the Trans Pennine Trail, which runs through the village itself; Holmfirth is just 8 miles away.

Stoneycroft Barn (ref. 6188)

Holiday cottage in Holmfirth

Stoneycroft Barn, Ref. 6188

Stoneycroft Barn, a luxury barn conversion, is nestled on the edge of the picturesque village of Midhopestones, just 10 miles from Holmfirth and a short drive from the beautiful Peak District National Park.  The surrounding area is peaceful, with walks from the doorstep and a lovely pub that serves food just a few minutes’ walk away. The cottage itself is warm and welcoming, sleeping 8 guests in 4 spacious bedrooms. The central woodburner-effect gas fire in the living room is a real highlight and is perfect for lounging in front of after a long day exploring!

Bullace Barn (ref. 23330)

Holiday cottage in Holmfirth

Bullace Barn, Ref. 23330

Bullace Barn is ideal for a family holiday in Holmfirth this year, with 3 spacious bedrooms, a large kitchen and dining area, and a games room with a pool table and playstation – even the most unenthusiastic of teenagers will love it here! Sleeping 7, this pet-friendly cottage is located on a smallholding on the edge of Millhouse Green, a small village on the edge of the Peak District National Park; it’s the perfect location for exploring this rugged part of the country.

If you want to see our full range of holiday cottages in and around Holmfirth then you can do so by visiting our website. Our reservations specialists are on hand for advice and help from 9.00am until 9.30pm every day so please do get in touch by giving us a call on 01244 356 695 or by sending us an email.

Pin It
Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Sykes’ Favourite Summer Destinations

Monday, January 12th, 2015
Pin It

With a plethora of stunning places on offer, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to choose a holiday destination in the UK and Ireland. With that in mind, I asked the team who contribute to the Sykes Cottages blog to let us in on their favourite holiday destinations in the UK and Ireland, and why, to give you a bit of inspiration before you start planning!


You can’t write a summer holiday guide without including Cornwall; it’s one of Britain’s favourite holiday destinations and for good reason! With stunning stretches of sandy beaches, beautiful rolling countryside and picturesque villages, there’s nowhere quite like it. The temperatures in Cornwall are also generally some of the best in the country so if you’re looking for a sunny UK getaway, Cornwall is your best bet! – Louise


When describing a summer holiday on Anglesey, it’s hard to know where to start! Admire the breath-taking Welsh scenery as you undertake the Anglesey Coastal Path; relax on the golden sand dunes and dip your toes in the crystal clear water at Newborough beach; taste the ocean’s delicacies at the Menai Sea Food festival; discover Wales’ exciting history at Beaumaris Castle – the list is endless but no matter what you do you are guaranteed a fantastic holiday! – Nicole

Whitby, North Yorkshire

The North Sea might not sound the most exotic place for a summer trip, but book a cottage break in Whitby and you really won’t care. This wonderful, ye olde seaside town offers a unique blend of sun, sea and history; with its evocative 10th century abbey and golden, sandy beach. If the town gets too busy for you during the summer, take a walk along the chalk headland and visit the charming village of Robin Hood’s Bay, where pubs, cafes and cobbles await. – Jonathan

County Waterford

Anything that mixes a beach with local culture and history is fine by me, which is why County Waterford is my ideal summer destination. Okay, so Ireland may not be synonymous with high temperatures, but when in Waterford if it isn’t exactly beach weather there is always the option to head more inland to Waterford City (Ireland’s oldest!) and take in the historic attractions. – Leanne

Isle of Wight

As an active kind of person, my top pick for a summer holiday destination is the Isle of Wight. The vast coastline is ideal for sailing, windsurfing and jet-skiing, while the lush countryside and downs are perfect for walkers and cyclists. Some of the pathways that are popular for walking and cycling also boast some of the most incredible panoramic views, so it’s definitely worth the effort to seek them out! When you’re tired of trying out all of the activities on offer, the traditional seaside towns are havens for cafes, pubs and restaurants. – Jamie

If you’re looking to book a summer holiday in the UK or Ireland this year, make sure you take a look at our large selection of holiday cottages. With over 5,000 cottages for you to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect cottage for your holiday this summer.

Pin It
Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Book a Romantic Cottage for Valentine’s Day

Saturday, January 10th, 2015
Pin It

To gain some brownie points from your loved one this year, make Valentine’s Day extra special by booking a cosy cottage for the occasion! Here at Sykes, we’re a sucker for a love story and so we’ve come up with a few suggestions on where to go for the perfect romantic getaway this Valentine’s Day. To help make your Valentine’s break run smoothly, you can also take a look at our guide on how to organise the perfect Valentine’s getaway!

Indulge in a cottage with a hot tub

Holiday cottage with hot tub

Upper Barn Stable, Norfolk, Ref. 2428

For most of us a hot tub is the ultimate luxury, so why not spoil your partner with a getaway in a holiday cottage with a hot tub? Upper Barn Stable is a charming stable conversion in Norfolk with traditional features and a bubbling hot tub in the garden to soak yourself in! It’s still available for Valentine’s Day but act quickly to make sure that you don’t miss out as our cottages with hot tubs are extremely popular!

Warm yourselves in a cottage with a log fire

Holiday cottage with log fire

Beckside Cottage, Yorkshire Dales, Ref. 906996

Is there anything more romantic than snuggling with your partner in front of a log fire? We think not. If like me, your house is rather lacking in real log fires, then why not treat yourself to some time away in one of our gorgeous cottages with open fires. The lovely Beckside Cottage, pictured above, is still available over Valentine’s Day and boasts a beautiful wood-burning stove where you can warm yourselves after exploring the surrounding Yorkshire countryside.

Relax in a cottage with a four poster bed

Holiday cottage with four poster bed

Beesoni Lodge, Worcestershire, Ref. 1852

No first-class Valentine’s getaway is complete without a sumptuous four poster bed and luckily for you, we have a fantastic selection of luxury cottages with four poster beds for you to choose from! Four poster beds evoke an air of romance, elegance and opulence, which is definitely the feel you want to go for on the most romantic day of the year!

Book a romantic holiday cottage with Sykes Cottages

Romantic holiday cottage

Coachman’s, Cornwall, Ref. 982

If you’re planning on booking a romantic retreat for Valentine’s Day, then Sykes Cottages are here to help! Whether you’re planning a surprise getaway (don’t forget to read our handy guide to booking a surprise holiday!) or just looking for somewhere nice to spend the weekend together, we can help you find the perfect cottage for your celebrations. Our dedicated reservations specialists are on hand 7 days a week from 9.00am until 9.30pm – give us a call on 01244 356 695 or send us an email to see what we have available. Happy planning!

Pin It
Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.